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World’s Best Tequila 2017

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Dear McCormick Friends, (Please read below)

Good news:  Broker Premium Gin announced, today, it will now become part of the McCormick’s Distillery portfolio.

Martin and Andy Dawson will stay on for a couple years in the role as Brand Ambassadors for McCormick’s ownership of Brokers Gin.

I had the fortune to have worked with Brokers Gin for a number of years with Andy and Martin Dawson.
The Brokers Gin Brand and a good number of its current Asia Pacific distributors will bring us back full circle; I feel very lucky to be back with Brokers Gin and what I’ve call the “Best Crafted Gin” internationally.  To be far, I have not considered another Gin since leaving Brokers Gin as it was a standard that was near if not impossible to match.

In the near future, I will be in touch with each of you in the coming weeks regarding; its price list, the marketing support and where you can source Brokers Gin from either USA or Europe.

More details to follow…

Cheers,
Ted McDonnell

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The SIP – Spirits International Prestige Awards are now announced for 2013.
We at Lighthouse Group and Tequila Total are proud to represent premium Spirit Brands that have won a number of major awards this year. Best in Class-Platinum: Congratulations to KAH tequila’s for winning across the range as Best in Show.
Distinguished Platinum winner: McCormick Distillery new brands North American Whiskey –Triple Crown, Hooks Spiced Black and Gold all won in their first debut onto the USA market this summer.
SIP Awards’ panel members have no affiliation with marketers, wholesalers or spirit label distributors. Each spirit is presented undiluted and chilled, and scored based on aroma, taste, and finish in a blind tasting. Award levels include Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Among the spirits competing for titles were gins, liqueurs, rums, tequilas, vodkas and whiskeys, each divided into multiple sub-categories. The top-tier 2013 winners are crowned as follows:
Platinum– “Best of Class”
Hooks Black Rum@ McCormick Distillery
KAH Tequila Series @ World Wide Beverages
 
Distinguished Platinum Winners360 Double Chocolate @ McCormick Distillery
360 Georgia Peach@ McCormick Distillery

Triple Crown North American Whiskey @ McCormick DistilleryHooks Spiced Rum @ McCormick DistilleryTequila Rose @ McCormick Distillery
The Prestige
The SIP Awards have become an increasingly popular and important international spirits competition. In addition to boosting brand recognition, winners enjoy the power of consumer choice credibility. “Consumers are the ultimate decision makers, and their honest opinions are something you just can’t buy,” says SIP Awards executive producer Paul Hashemi. “When you enter this competition, your spirit will be judged by a panel of consumers, not by industry insiders.”
Although hundreds of brands enter the competition, only brands with the highest scores receive honors. Rising above several hundred entrants, the winners in each category have proven themselves superior to the competition, worthy of high honors from an honest and impartial consumer base.
Vodka Facts, Vodka Reviews and everything Vodka

360 Vodka is reviewed today. Frankly, I am long overdue in providing this review of a most vibrant brands on the marketplace. I guess you can kind of gauge how this review will turn out, but read on anyway. 360 Vodka is manufactured in tiny Weston, Missouri. This town of less than 2,000 now boasts a vodka brand that has ridden the vodka popularity ride and has done a great job in the making. As you can see from the map below, the city is near Kansas City, and Levenworth, Kansas, with its prisons and military installations. The region near Weston is generally void of the hills of Missouri, the town itself is actually quite picturesque as it borders the Platte river, and the hills that the river basin has formed over the years. This vodka is made from grain, and distilled, and filtered 5 times overall resulting in a taste that is clean and crisp, smooth, yet not too much so to leave itself in the pack as a a vodka imposter. Lets face it, some of the allure of the taste of vodka that differentiates itself from other alcohol is its unique bite.

This 80 proof product (that’s 40% alcohol, and standard for most hard liquors) begins with a fairly instant and strong rush of that vodka push which I often refer to the chemical taste (that which a lot of drinkers cannot stand about vodka). The tastes rushes in with a blast, then slowly fades into a smoothness that leaves you actually appreciating it’s grain origins and multiple filtering process. While I cannot quite taste the difference this makes, the last filtering is through coconut shells….do not ask me how or the advantage. But the result is a very satisfying vodka that I prefer to drink over ice straight. For those of you who shy away from the strong rush of vodka but enjoy the overall taste, you should mix with a dash of water or pour over ice and let the ice melt a bit……of course, remember, all of my vodka drinks are served straight from the freezer, and great 360 should be no different.

Clean, Crisp 360 Vodka

Another interesting point of this vodka is the branding. First of all the pricing. This is considered a ‘premium’ vodka by the marketplace. It is priced lower than most of the premiums and those that have been reviewed in this site. It ranges from $35-40 generally all over for a 1.75 liter bottle (we only price 1.75 liters here, I mean, what the use of the smaller bottles anyway?). There are also deals out there to be had since this brand is less known to the masses. But they are working hard on the branding from another approach. They present a very friendly image. Along those lines, they have positioned themselves as a ‘green’ vodka. What this means is: Although they do not advertise using organic grain, they do emphasize recycling by donating $1 for every bottle cap contraption sent in. They donate it to a green cause, and their website Vodka360 (click here for website) boasts that they have donated over $50,000 for this cause for caplet contraptions sent in. They even pay postage. Couple that with a very cool, clean, no nonsense packaging, leads to a brand approach that can work for you hippies of the world.

Tequila — good tequila — is made entirely from the fruit of the blue agave, a succulent plant. But tequila is no longer the only agave spirit that’s widely available. In the last decade, the spread of excellent mezcals has offered a fresh perspective on the joys and complexities of agave spirits. In the process, these mezcals have raised questions, at least for me, about what exactly you are getting in a bottle of tequila.

A recent tasting of 20 blanco tequilas did little to settle those questions. In fact, you could say the results were somewhat disquieting for the spirits panel, which included Florence Fabricant and me, along with two guests: Robert Simonson, who writes frequently on drinks for the Dining section, and Jim Meehan, bartender extraordinaire and managing partner of Please Don’t Tell, a cocktail bar in the East Village.

Many people reflexively associate tequila with Mexican restaurants. I could make a case that this association has held back the growth and appreciation of Mexican cuisine in this country because the restaurants are so often seen primarily as vehicles for supplying frozen margaritas.

That perception has evolved, though, in recent years. The cocktail revival has brought a renewed appreciation of pure tequilas, distilled 100 percent from the sap of the blue agave, as opposed to mixto tequilas, the fuel of many raucous frat parties and margarita machines, which need only be 51 percent blue agave.

Demand for 100 percent blue agave tequilas has risen significantly. In 2012, more than 12 million cases of all types of tequila were shipped to the United States, about 54 percent more than a decade ago, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade group. Although super-premium tequilas, the highest-end blue agave spirits, accounted for just about 15 percent of all tequilas shipped to the United States in 2012, they were by far the fastest-growing segment, practically quadrupling to almost 1.9 million cases in 2012 from about 500,000 in 2003.

The nagging question is whether something has been lost in that rapid growth. While the panel’s favorites were complex, elemental and intriguing, we were troubled by a lack of intensity in many of the bottles as well as by a sense of artificiality in some. As Florence put it, we found a great divide between those tequilas we liked and those we didn’t like, without much in the middle.

I couldn’t help contrasting some of these tequilas to mezcals, with their direct, unmediated expressions of agave in all its nuanced complexity. Now, tequila by its nature will generally be smoother and gentler, but still the flavors should have depth.

In the past, I’ve suggested that good tequila tastes like a good margarita, with all the saline, citrus and vegetal elements of the cocktail built right into the spirit. Yet, compared with the roughness and vigor of the mezcals, many of the tequilas seemed wan, as if all their inherent rusticity had been rasped away in an effort to make them presentable in polite company.

Jim noted that such a comparison was not entirely fair. Mezcals are often essentially handmade small-production spirits, while tequila is generally made in industrial quantities. That’s true, and tequila, of course, ought not to resemble mezcal too closely. The spirits are made in different ways, from different types of agave. Yet clearly, something is being lost when many tequilas seem to be faded chalk outlines of what they could be.

Partly, that reflects a corporate approach to selling tequila. Indeed, most of these tequilas are exported, and, as Robert and Jim pointed out, the corporate tequila producers have rushed to appeal to the sizable audience for America’s No. 1 selling spirit. “Tequila producers seem to have taken their cues from the vodka category,” Jim said. “They’re trying to make neutral tequilas to appeal to the vodka market.”

By their nature, blanco tequilas, also called silver or plata, ought to offer the purest, most forceful expressions. These are clear, essentially unaged tequilas, unlike reposados, which spend 2 to 12 months in oak barrels, and añejos, which are generally aged 1 to 4 years in oak.

Perhaps we showed our mezcal bias in our rankings of the blancos. Our favorite, the Casa Noble Crystal, was explosive, with rough, rustic flavors that, in their intensity, certainly reminded me of mezcal. At $34, it was also our best value.

Our other top picks were the Select Barrel Reserve from Milagro, a similarly direct and complex tequila, which got about a month of barrel aging, and the powerful, elemental Astral. A new and unusual brand, Astral was introduced by the sommelier Richard Betts, who also imports Sombra mezcal. It is an effort, he says, to make tequila using artisanal methods, as before it became an industrialized product. This was my first taste of Astral, and I was impressed by its craggy, raw flavors.

July, 2 We are wrapping up The Noble Bloggers Round #1 with a special message from Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo, Founder and CEO of Casa Noble. Are you ready for Round #2? Because we are bringing them from all over the world
this time: some are old friends, but others will be total surprise. Click here to find out more, please: http://bit.ly/OY8unp.

July, 3 Did you hear the news? Casa Noble Tequila just launched The Noble Places, Check it out! http://bit.ly/TheNobles

July, 3 Few moments are as meaningful to tequila as this image: the planting of the “hijuelos” or baby agave plants. Casa Noble uses compost made 100% from our tequila production residues, that provides nutrients, helps the soil retain moisture, and many other benefits. Our Organic certification is a valuable tool that helps our handcrafted, luxury tequilas start in the best way possible: blue agave plants that are nourished, cared and grown in a natural, sustainable
way. This is passion for perfection.

July, 5 Casa Noble Tequila & Carlos Santana Educational Video The Secret of Casa Noble’s tequila aging, finally REVEALED!. Watch Carlos Santana as he discovers why Casa Noble has such outstanding Reposados &
Añejos: The only tequila in the world to do this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uYbT-Bo0TM

Welcome Casa Noble Singapore!
https://www.facebook.com/CasaNobleSingapore

Cocktail Fridays will never be the same for Casa Noble. Because now you can choose from over 150 special, delicious cocktails made with Casa Noble such as this one. Yummy? Click here! http://bit.ly/TheNobles

July, 8 The Noble Blogger Round#2 is just around the corner. And we have a super-special guest to kick off our second season! And thats is not all: a new and improved format, more variety and more continents. Do not miss the new
season premiere, tomorrow, right here!.

July, 9 Casa Noble Tequila is happy to be with Carlos Santana tonight, at Ravinia, in Highland Park, Illinois.

The Tequila Whisperer is on The Noble Bloggers! Yes, our second season kicks off with a loud BANG! and features none other than Lippy, your “Tequila Revealer”, as our featured blogger this week. Enjoy! Share! http://bit.ly/Nkl8dZ

July, 10 Baby agaves, called “hijuelos” (ee-huu-elos) grow from the mother agave plant’s root (also called rhizomes). This is how they start their life: attached to their mothers, to be detached later and re-planted so they can continue to grow on their own. At Casa Noble we take extremely good care of our babies, planted in organically enriched soil. Nature and our jimadores will take care of the rest. This is Passion for Perfection.

July, 11 Casa Noble, present at the 2012 X Games Los Angeles closing party. We had the honor of sharing some fun moments with stars like Skate winner Simon Lambey, Legendary Pro Skater and medalist Kareem Cambell,
Blindside’s Actor Quinton Aaron, and Smithsonian Photographer Kyleen Mir. Photos by Neftalie.com

July, 12 Casa Noble & Taransaud Tonnellerie, a match made in Tequila heaven. We are proud to be the first distillery to use this masterpieces to age our luxury handcrafted tequilas. To learn more, please click here: http://santanatequila.com/?p=3335

Did you miss Sunday’s Noble Bloggers post? Its none other that The Tequila Whisperer! Watch this incredibly funny, warm and revealing video here!: http://bit.ly/Nkl8dZ

An aged tequila masterpiece. The Casa Noble way: this is passion for perfection. Salud! Share if you like it!

July, 13 Casa Noble Cocktail Fridays: looking for a special cocktail made with Casa Noble? Go to http://www.casanoble.com/ and enter The Noble Places to find out!

Every drop inside this Riedel glass comes from a unique barrel of tequila, aged for over 5 years. The Casa Noble Single-Barrel program yields a small number of barrels every year, that only a few lucky ones will get to possess.
This, is passion for perfection.

July, 16 How much do you know about Tequila in Denmark? The Noble Bloggers Season 2, Round 2 is here, and we bring you a world premiere: Carl Wrangel & The Barking Dog, you are going to love it! Go to the full article here: http://bit.ly/McvJZ0

Commemorating 1 year of the start of a joint adventure, sharing our passion for perfection. Casa Noble & Carlos Santana: Celebrating Life Together in our 1st Anniversary.

July, 17 Casa Noble Tequila & Carlos Santana Educational Video

This video launched the news about the start of a joint adventure, sharing our passion for perfection. Casa Noble & Carlos Santana: Celebrating Life Together in our 1st Anniversary. http://youtu.be/eSrX3FFdS4c

Our first Santana concert event together, an unforgettable experience in Colorado, an impressive natural venue surrounded by Red Rocks…Casa Noble & Carlos Santana: Celebrating Life Together in our 1st Anniversary

July, 19 Another delicious batch of perfectly cooked agave coming out of our artisanal, stone ovens. In about 7 more days, this will be transformed into Casa Noble Crystal: the purest tasting tequila in the world.

Do you want to learn how we make this amazing tequila? Come back here in a few minutes and we’ll have a superb video for you!

Casa Noble Tequila & Carlos Santana Educational Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EJ0owKQGIA&feature=youtu.be
Carlos Santana & Casa Noble’s founder and CEO Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo take us on a private tour of our tequila distillery, an amazing educational video!.CasaNoble & Carlos Santana Celebrating Life Together in our 1st Anniversary.

For this Cocktail Friday, join us in our celebration of Carlos Santana’s birthday with your favorite Margarita made with Casa Noble. Salud, and Happy Birthday!

July, 21 Congratulations to our friends at Komali in Dallas TX, their fabulous Tamarind Margarita made with Casa Noble Tequila won Best Margarita in Dallas.Again!
http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2012/August/Best_of_Big_D_F
ood_and_Drink_2012.aspx

July, 22 Casa Noble Tasting in Tokyo at Japan Tequila Association http://ameblo.jp/tequila-metoki/entry-11306891896.html

July 23 Do you think Tequila has magic powers? The Noble Bloggers this week feature a story that will make your heart feel warm and happy, a story about a fight for survival, and tequila friendships. Do NOT miss “Tracie & the Magic
Bottle”! Click here: http://santanatequila.com/?p=3621

Come to Sierra Golds @ North Buffalo Drive, in Las Vegas, to see new Casa Noble & Santana Locker, and sip on the Casa Noble SierraRita! Grand opening

July 23 Lucky Winners of Santana Concert tickets @ Little Havana, congratulations!

July, 24 Casa Noble is proud of being part of Seize Sur Vingt’s 14th Anniversary Celebration. Find out more about this event here: http://bit.ly/QhbNbd

D-Magazine

“You’re pretty much required to give the best margarita in Dallas a whirl (or two,if you’re feeling adventurous). It’s still Komali’s tamarind version, made with Casa Noble Resposado, Cointreau, tamarind purée, and fresh lime served with
a spiced rim.”

http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2012/07/24/things-to-do-in-dallastonight-july-24/

This National Tequila day, we’d like to celebrate in a slightly different way: by honoring the heritage, tradition, beauty, grace, elegance and dignity of TEQUILA, with our deepest respect and love. Celebrating life & tequila together,
with you, our friends.

This is our tribute to the Angels that come and share their magic inside our barrels, and leave us with a glorious example of what it means to share. We raise our glass to you. This is Passion for Perfection. Salud amigos!

July, 25 Some nice memories from the East Coast Tour 2012 stop at Ravinia Festival, near Chicago. We had a chance to share amazing moments with Carlos Santana and Casa Noble friends before the concert. Join us for more reports from other tour stops!

July, 27 Casa Noble brings you a HUGE selection of specialty cocktails made with our fantastic family of handcrafted, luxury tequilas, such as the “Spirit of Agave”. Look for them right here! http://bit.ly/TheNobles

Casa Noble wishes to congratulate House of Blues for dominating the 2012 Billboard Magazine list for “The 25 Hottest Clubs in North America”. Don’t forget to order your Supernatural Margarita made with Casa Noble Tequila!

Thank you Leung Yick Distribution Company of HONG KONG for placing Casa Noble on the back of your Delivery Trucks.
* Does your company have a similar display’s? Please take a photo and send it into me.
* Does your distribution company need art work to place Casa Noble on your trucks or other? Please contact us and I will make it HAPPEN!
 

Santana’s Casa Noble Tequila is now in the Philippines

Iconic American rock guitarist Carlos Santana is Casa Noble’s CEO and part-owner. Photo source: http://www.casanoble.com.

With the traceable influence of Mexico in the country’s cultural fiber (think of the Manila-Acapulco trade during the Spanish colonial era), it’s small wonder that Filipinos celebrate Cinco de Mayo—or at least use the date as a warrant to munch nachos and tacos, or drown in Mexico’s inebriating gift to the world: tequila.

According to model Borgy Manotoc, despite the notoriety of tequila among younger drinkers, it still boasts itself as one of the world’s best alcoholic beverages.

“Tequila’s got a very bad rep sometimes because everyone sees it as just a shot of alcohol and some young people have a bad experience because they say it’s a little bit difficult [to drink],” he said.

“But I think when they understand the product and they understand the flavor of the tequila, they will start to really appreciate the taste, and not just the fact na medyo matapang siya,” Manotoc added. He also said that tequila has a “flowery” taste that people will only appreciate once they start to get acquainted with the said drink.

Tequila is an alcoholic drink produced from blue agave plants growing at the culturally-rich state of Jalisco in Mexico. Aside from drinking it straight or served on a shot glass rimmed with salt with a slice of lime, it is also mixed with orange liqueur, lemon and lime juice to make famous margarita.

So how is tequila made?

These blue agave plants take more than a decade to fully mature and when they do, they are taken out of the grown and their leaves removed until the core or piña is left. Next, they are taken to the distillery and cut before they are loaded into special furnaces to roast the piñas. After cooking them for about thirty-six hours, the cooked cores are shredded and the juice is extracted, which will be fermented for five days.

After fermentation, the tequila is distilled twice, or thrice in other distillers, to produce the nice aroma of the blue agave plant and at the same time, for the tequila acquire its pure taste. While most of tequilas are ready after distillation, some of them are aged for two months to obtain the golden color. However, distillers such as Casa Noble age some their tequilas for one year, while others last up until five years, which makes it the oldest tequila in the market.

Casa Noble’s variations include Cyrstal, Reposado, and Anejo. Photo source: casanoble.blogspot.com.

At a recent product launch of Casa Noble held at the Opus Lounge in Resorts World, Manila, tequila aficionados gathered together to enjoy shots of the premium drink. Borgy, who was one of the event’s guests, says, “Casa Noble is all about the product. There are no shortcuts in the production. Everything is done to the highest quality. This is the same family that’s making tequila and growing agave plants from the same place for 300 years, so they have really perfected their craft in a way that nobody else has done.”

Interestingly, Carlos Santana, a Mexican, multiple Grammy Award-winner, and iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, has joined the Board of Casa Noble and is now one of the owners of the brand.

“It is the only tequila in the world that is [certified] USDA organic. It means that on the entire property that produces the product, there are no chemicals used, no pesticide, and even vehicles that come in should have their tires sprayed so they don’t pollute the property,” he furthered. Manotoc also serves as the brand’s ambassador to the Philippines.

Casa Noble is brought to the Philippines by Calvo Imports, Inc., owned by the same people that brought Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC). Watch PXC at AKTV, TV5′s sports and lifestyle channel.

Casa Noble as seen on the bar of Opus Lounge in Resortsworld, Manila. Photo by Dino Mari L. Testa, InterAksyon.com.

Santana’s Casa Noble Tequila is now in the Philippines

Source: InterAksyon.com – Lifestyle

Over the years Casa Noble Tequila has been written up as the Best of the Best in the 100% Tequila Category.
Many times Casa Noble Tequila is compared to a handful of 100% Tequila’s but never to PATRON. WHY?
Read here….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Posted: 05/04/2012 7:29 am

It happens every year. I get a bunch of tequilas or mezcals or agave nectars or orange liqueurs in the mail. I think, well, this margarita-centric stuff doesn’t fit with the in-depth exploration I’m working on of schnapps made in the greater West Virginia area, or the pastrami-flavored vodka review I have to write for next week. I’ll leave it until Cinco de Mayo. Inevitably, before I know it, it’s Cuatro de Mayo, and instead of writing about tequila or anything vaguely Mexican, I’m working on a piece about chocolate chip cookie-infused aquavit, or the best armagnacs to drink with Cheez Doodles.

So, without further ado, here’s a quick little shout-out to some of the best tequilas and related products I’ve had the pleasure to sample over the last year, and to the PR flaks who faithfully remind me about Cinco de Mayo starting in, oh, November or so.

Here’s to you, Casa Noble Tequila, whose blanco, reposado and añejo are all among the finest tequilas you can quaff. My favorite is the añejo, triple distilled and aged in French limousin oak barrels, with a damn near perfect balance of vanilla, agave and earthy/grassy flavors and a long, smooth finish that will leave you going “Aaaahhhhhh….” And the bottles are as attractive as the tequila inside is delicious.

Muchas gracias, Dr. Adolfo Murillo, creator of Tequila Alquimia, one of the best tequilas you’ve probably never heard of. Certified organic and housed in bottles made from recycled glass, Alquimia is both earth-friendly and mouth-friendly. The blanco may be the best I’ve tried all year, with soft anise and grape notes that make it delicious both in a margarita and sipped on its own. The reposado is a stunner as well, with strong vegetal, vanilla and pepper notes. And the añejo is simply out of this world — soft and velvety, caressing your taste buds and doing everything but singing Mexican folk ballads softly in your ear. If you see Alquimia at your local watering hole or liquor store, don’t hesitate. One sip and you’ll be thanking Dr. Murillo too.

A hearty ¡ay, Dios mio! to Patron, the groundbreaking premium brand whose Gran Patron Burdeos will run you in the neighborhood of $500-700. Patron blew my mind and broke me out of the Cuervo Gold ghetto when I first tried it in the ’90s. But after the distillery was moved in 2002, its quality and reputation suffered, to the point where it’s de rigeur for serious tequila fans to either ignore or belittle the brand. This super-high end bottling, finished in vintage Bordeaux barrels and housed in stunning handcrafted black walnut boxes, has had its share of both ecstatic and horrific reviews. I’m closer to the ecstatic camp. It’s definitely an odd one, with the Bordeaux barrels giving it flavors of dark fruits and more intense caramel notes than you’d find in a typical tequila. But of course, it’s not supposed to be a typical tequila, is it?

Big Cinco de Mayo props to Milagro Tequila, who sent me one of the spiffier gift packs I’ve gotten in recent memory. The “World’s Freshest Margarita” kit included a Boston shaker, a lime press — essential for margarita making! — Milagro’s own Silver blanco tequila and agave nectar, fresh limes and a beautifully bound hardcover recipe book, containing recipes for margaritas and much more, in a handsome tote bag to carry it all. Is it the world’s freshest margarita? Well, I guess it’s in a tie with every other margarita made with fresh squeezed lime juice. But it’s tasty, that’s for sure — Milagro Silver makes a fine margarita. On its own, it’s got a lovely, herbal and slightly mineral flavor with a bit of citrus on the entry. As a mixer, it’s full-bodied enough to stand up to whatever you throw in with it.

As for the agave nectar included in the kit, I much prefer sweetening my margs with orange liqueur (or triple sec or curaçao), which complements the agave in the tequila in a way that simply adding more agave in the form of nectar can’t. Which is why I tip my chapeau to Mandarine Napoleon. Sure, it’s French, but your margarita definitely won’t mind. Most orange liqueurs use a neutral spirit base, but Napoleon, like Grand Marnier, uses a cognac base, which gives the whole shebang a much deeper, richer and more complex flavor. It also uses Sicilian mandarine oranges rather than the more traditional curaçao oranges. It’s a liqueur, so it’s a little sweet and syrupy when consumed on its own, but it makes for a mean mixer, comparable to Grand Marnier itself. And legend has it that this stuff was first created for Napoleon himself. Pretty cool, right?

Mixing rum and tequila? Sounds gross, right? But not if you flavor your margarita with Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb orange liqueur, which uses Clement’s superlative rhum agricole (meaning rum distilled from cane juice rather than molasses) as a base. It’s got a beautiful, zesty orange flavor that’s lighter and less sweet than most triple secs, and a finish that’s got a lot of wood as well as orange notes. I wouldn’t have believed that it could work in a margarita… until I tried it. A big “¡Saludos, amigos!” to Martinique’s finest.

And last but not least, a misty-eyed “Yo recuerdo, querido” to El Teddy’s, the legendary and long-gone Tribeca watering hole. As a callow youth in the mid ’90s, uneducated in the way of drinking for quality instead of quantity, El Teddy’s opened my eyes to the magic of margaritas. Cocktails with fresh ingredients and premium spirits weren’t as ubiquitous back then as they are today. To taste a ‘rita made with fresh-squeezed lime juice and a tequila that wasn’t Cuervo Gold — and shaken in a shaker rather than frozen in a blender, no less! — was an eye-opening and mind-expanding experience that will stay with me until the last sip of tequila crosses my lips. I miss that place to this day.

¡Tenemos que beber ahora! Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!